Assessing and fixing up my Cirkut #10

Discussion in 'Panoramic Cameras and Accessories' started by frobozz, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    Continuing on from where we'd veered off topic for this thread:

    (there was a url link here which no longer exists)

    And referencing the pictures of my camera here:

    http://cirkutcamera.com/cirkut_10/mycamera.html

    I figured I'd put my trials and tribulations in a new thread here. To start off by answering Mark's post...

    Had they not heard of circlips by the 1920's?! (I'm serious, maybe those hadn't been invented yet.) This may require some modification engineering...


    I've added some more pictures to that page above to help talk about all this. To me it seemed like there must be a "lever" broken off of the adjustment pawl, because the instructions talk about a lever but all I have is this nub hidden behind the roller. But now that you tell me the roller isn't supposed to be there, maybe this nub is really all the lever that there is, and the problem is that the roller blocks it.



    That's a good point. Far better to tell the photographer that 23.5 feet is exactly the correct distance, than to tell him that 30 is "about" the right gear. Hmmmmm....



    The running surface of my gear (the whole gear, in fact) looks brand new. That's definitely some pretty amazing metalcraft for that time. Stainless? Doesn't look chromed. The wheels don't seem to have flat spots, but they sure are noisy. Are they some sort of composite or clay or something? Has anyone tried finding some urethane rollers to go there, or is the rattle part of the charm of running a Cirkut? ;-)

    My coworkers insisted I bring it to work to see it, so I'm going to actually set it all up and mechanically test run it for the first time here today. (There's only 6 of us in the whole office, so I doubt I'll ever do a company panoramic shot, unless we all stand 20 feet apart!)


    Duncan
     
  2. OP
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    frobozz

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    First tests - it runs! When I run it at 1/12 "shutter speed" it is a little squeaky, so the motor needs cleaning and...what, graphite for lubing? Do I just remove the 10 or so obvious screws on the motor plate and it falls out, or is it more involved to decouple it from the film spool?

    When the mounting plate thumbscrew bottoms out in the hole in the camera it is not at all tight. Which I guess makes it easier to slide the camera back and forth to get the gear in mesh, but it really seems like it ought to be a little tighter. Does the weight of the camera just keep it from wiggling or rotating on the platform, or am I missing something like a spacer that would pull everything tighter together before the screw bottoms out?

    The tripod legs are really disgustingly sticky, ewwwwwwww. Guess I need to do a little cleaning on those, probably for the first time since the 1920's.

    Duncan
     
  3. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    More later, but a few quick thoughts here. Just the tiniest bit of oil on the bearing points will probably be all you need for now. At some point you'll want to pull the motor, but I'd really put that off if it seems to work okay. I think you can easily get to all but one of the spots that need lube. The internal gears themselves run dry. Look for all the pins and rotating surfaces on the bottom plate. Don't overlook the really tiny one; that is probably a lot of the noise since it turns faster. Then look for the matching spot on the top plate of the motor inside the box somewhere around where your film adjuster is, and lube that. Again, just the tiniest amount.

    I'd probably leave the governor alone for now. It sounds like yours is in pretty good adjustment anyway. The governor is in the metal box beside the film supply. The boxes are almost always off, and usually missing, so another good sign of yours. I like how little it has been tampered with. Still, I end up leaving the governor cover off mine so that I can get at it if I need to during a job.
     
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    frobozz

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    OK, I have 3-in-1 and toothpicks here, let me try some extra-conservative external lubing.

    Duncan
     
  5. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    I cut that last post short because of a phone call. I added just a bit of info with an edit, but will start over here. The turntable gear is actually fairly soft so yours is in remarkable condition. The plating is hard, but once that wears it is not so great. I'd just clean and maybe lightly lube the rollers on the turntable top. All the weight tends to be on the back few when the thing is running.

    There is a bit of controversy about the best way to deal with the turntable rollers. Jim Lipari converted mine to precision bearings over 20 years ago. I have at least two turntables like that and consider it to be the biggest improvement I've made to the camera. However, none of my turntables were in the good condition yours is. Plus, Ron Klein, who was a regular here at APUG, does not agree and is bothered by the "skidding" of the precision bearings due to being wider that the original bearings. I don't doubt Ron is right in theory, but in practice I think it is unimportant. The friction is reduced so much by the better bearings that I made leather brake pads for my turntable to prevent chatter; these serve double duty by cleaning the surface as the pass.

    Backing up, I didn't say, but one of the main reasons the precision bearings help is that they are wider, so ride over little indentations and such. It sounds like you don't have that problem, and I wouldn't change your bearings. I believe Ron Klein turned his down to remove flat spots, but can't recall exactly since that would not have fixed my problems anyway. I'll have to see if the camera I'm shooting now has been converted, but I imagine it has. I also have some extra turntables (I tend to call the gear heads for some reason, so will probably confuse everyone with that expression at some point).
     
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    frobozz

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    Lubing those points helped a little bit. There's still a squeak from somewhere on the fast speeds... the kind of squeak that anyone who's ever had slot cars will recognize. Intermittent, high pitched, probably not really affecting anything other than my ears. But there's also a rumbling sound that changes depending on orientation (since I had the box off and in my lap for lubing and could spin it around.) Definitely from the governor area. Slid that cover back and that's definitely it. If I take the top of the "C" arm with my fingertip and pull it evvvvvver so slightly towards me (directly away from the back of the "C"), the sound goes away and the motor speeds up noticeably. Looks like there is an adjustment for the bearing on top (setscrew/locknut), and/or the bearing might need lubing. Also looks like a setscrew on the shaft for the governor balls, to set their spread by sliding it and retightening.... I assume that's how you calibrate the motor speed? I certainly won't be touching that one!

    Duncan
     
  7. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    Yes, I wouldn't mess with the governor adjustment yet, but a touch of lube at the top might do it. Or go ahead and pull the top adjuster and lock and you'll see it is a "v" shaped bearing surface that should have very light lube. That is one spot where some graphite might be a nice touch. Then you just screw it in until the thing is running smoothly. Probably go just a bit further until it starts to slow down, then back off. Turning the lock nut will probably throw it off a little, so some back and forth. I'm going from memory on all this, but I think you'll eventually want a touch of lube on the bottom bearing of the governor also, and maybe you can get in there with a toothpick. But don't get anything on the surface where the leather brake on the governor runs.

    You can safely leave the cover off the governor.

    IIRC, there is one other small pin/shaft in hole that would be nice to lube. I imagine you can find its mate on the bottom, then look for where it will be on top - somewhere inside the exposure slot are I think. Probably possible to get to assembled; easy when the motor is out. Your motor seems very dry, but I think everything else turns very slowly and can probably wait.
     
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    frobozz

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    OK, V-shaped bearing makes sense. It's loose, so the thing rattles, slowing it down. Lightly pulling on the top of the C pulls the bearing in a little closer to the shaft, centering it and keeping it from rattling. SO sounds like removing it, cleaning it, graphiting it, then putting it back and fiddling until it's just so will help with all the noise and wobble and slowdown.

    I expected to see that speed lever alter the spread of governor balls, as that would certainly work...but no, you mean it operates a leather brake?! Oh my, that's bound to be working differently now than it was 90-ish years ago. I can see where a few tests are going to be in order to figure out more precise exposures.

    Thanks again for all your help on this!

    Duncan
     
  9. Mark Crabtree

    Mark Crabtree Member

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    It seems to be a combination. I think the braking surface sort of controls how far the balls can extend. I don't think its purpose is so much for retarding the speed, so a just calling it a leather pad would probably be better. You can see the leather pad move up and down with the speed control.
     
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    frobozz

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    Oh yeah - anyone have a picture of what goes here? And how it attaches? And which direction it slides, and latches? Right now my back just slides off an on from the camera, no latching (which is risky!)

    Duncan

    [​IMG]
     
  11. jamie young

    jamie young Member

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    I talked to Ron Klein as well about the stock brass wheels vs precision bearings, and have just left mine stock. Like Mark said never oil the gear teeth anywhere. Lightly oil the various bearing surfaces. The spring motor only gets dry graphite. Oiling it is a bad idea, but if you do have a oiled spring to start you can clean it with a degreaser and then apply graphite. You may not need to do anything there. I also oil the moving part of the film rewind knob occasionally. Having a small amount of friction in the system isn't bad so long as it's constant and doesn't change as the camera turns and film unwinds. If you are going to spool your own film it's helpful to spool it a few weeks before using so it becomes comfortable on the spool. Otherwise it tends to act as a spring and straighten. I was also taught to run the roll though the camera first with the lens closed so you know it hasn't stuck to itself in any way.
     
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    frobozz

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    I got the front apart thanks to the suggestion to remove the top plate and slide the whole thing out from the standard supports. I can see now that the entire problem was caused nearly 90 years ago by someone screwing that arc adjustment post plate in the wrong position. It's way too close to the edge of the piece of wood, which is what caused it to split away under the rigors of shipping. I'm frankly surprised that hadn't happened previously just from use. Those screws should be pretty much centered in the width of the side piece but instead were quite near the edge.

    So I've glued it up and clamped it and am waiting for that to dry for a day or two. Then when I screw the plate back in, in the right place(!), the screws will actually be going into new untouched wood; that's far how off they had it mounted previously. I have no doubt it will hold just fine from here on out, after that.

    Duncan
     
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    frobozz

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    OK I messed with the governor a bit. Turns out the pointy part of the needle and cup bearing is on the screw.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So I cleaned it up, dribbled a little graphite down into the shaft of the governor, and reassembled it. Handy tip: when the motor is OFF, the governor shaft is shoved upwards from below in the guts of the motor, so you can't set the bearing load in that position. I guess you could jam the running governor to stop it, but I just let it run completely out. Then I turned the pointy screw in until there was *just* no wobble when I grabbed the shaft and tried to move it side to side. In that position, the motor would not run. So I backed off the screw just a tiny bit and then the motor ran perfectly, and smoothly. I cinched the locknut down making sure the screw didn't turn. So I still get some squeaking from lack of lubrication somewhere, but the motor runs very smoothly and at full consistent speed.

    Interestingly I now see that whole speed-setting brake thing but it's not a brake. In fact the slippery it is the better. What happens is that as the governor speeds up, the bottom collar slides UP, allowing the balls to go farther out. The speed setting lever head hits a flange on the bottom collar, limiting its travel, and thus its speed. It's limiting the travel by stopping it, but it is not supposed to slow its spinning at all; that would slow it a different way. SO heck, lubricating that flange might even be a good idea, but it certainly doesn't need replacing for better friction, like an old hardened leather brake pad would. I'm leaving it alone, since it seems to be working fine.

    I removed that long skinny roller since you all said it wasn't supposed to be there. Now I can get a clear shot of the latch lever for the film size adjustment. Is this how it's supposed to be, or is there something broken off?

    [​IMG]

    And I took apart the side latch for the attachment. What you can see through that slot turns out to be the spring! But the entire mechanism is missing. Clearly there is supposed to be a metal bar that slides out into the hole in the camera body, pushed by the spring, but with a knob of some sort screwed in from the side to limit its travel, and allow you to pull it back out of the hole for removing the attachment. I bet the knob screwed out, which allowed the bar to shoot out, and someone just never put it back together. I can probably cobble together something equivalent out of new parts, but for now I'll just be careful, knowing the two pieces are not securely latched together.

    Duncan
     
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    frobozz

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    My repairs finally all dried on the pivot piece that broke, so I screwed it back together properly this time!

    Here is where the plate was mis-positioned when the camera was built (I had already filled the old holes with JB Weld when I took this picture):

    [​IMG]


    And here is the plate screwed in, in the correct position... so the screws actually went into wood, because the holes are much lower and more centered on the whole beam of wood, when the plate is in the right position:

    [​IMG]

    Now to put it all back on the camera...

    Duncan
     
  16. OP
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    frobozz

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    Using some brass bar stock and a knob from McMaster Carr, I made a side latch, so now I don't have to worry about the camera halves sliding apart unexpectedly.

    I used 1/8" x 3/8" stock, about an inch of it. The 1/8" dimension was too thick, so I just filed it down until it was thinner (easy enough with brass). Tapped a 10-24 hole in it for the knob screw, and put some nylon washers between the knob and the plate to make it slide easier. The knob is probably too big, but it looks like it goes with the camera and it works well enough.

    My lead on 220 B&W film for testing didn't pan out, so now I guess it's down to 35mm. I have plenty of that! I've got the parts to make a 35mm canister holder, if my idea about how to do that actually works, so that's the next step.

    Duncan
     
  17. shutterfinger

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    I service Graflex Corp. cameras but have seen or handled a Circuit.
    Reading this thread I saw a few errors of servicing.
    1. 3in1 oil is not a good choice for camera servicing as it will dry out in a few weeks to a few months and will leave a sticky residue which will build up with repeated applications.
    TriFlow, http://www.amazon.com/Tri-Flow-TF21...e=UTF8&qid=1418973998&sr=8-2&keywords=triflow , available at hardware/ home improvement stores and bike shops , clock oil or gun oil are much better choices. Only a light sheen on shafts or center of gears is all that is needed.
    2. Gears that are designed to run dry run better with a trace of White Lithium or Teflon base grease such as http://www.amazon.com/Finish-Line-P...&qid=1418974213&sr=8-1&keywords=teflon+grease on the teeth. Dry teflon may work also, http://www.amazon.com/DuPont-Non-St...d=1418974351&sr=8-1&keywords=teflon+lubricant
    3. All wood cameras made by Folmer and Schwing Manufacturing Company starting in 1898 through Graflex Inc. to its end in 1973 were made of Mahogany. The body covering is XXX Moroccan Leather from 1898 through 1946, from 1947 to end of the company was high quality Naugahyde. You can improve the appearance of the camera with Kiwi Color Shine Black,
    http://www.amazon.com/Kiwi-Color-Sh...d=1418974680&sr=8-8&keywords=kiwi+shoe+polish.
    4. Stripped screw holes or non used screw holes can easily be filled/fixed with a section of dowel rod and wood glue. I use round wood tooth picks, clip a tapered end so that the toothpick fits the hole easily without play, coat it with Elmer's Carpenters Wood glue, insert and bottom it in the hole to be repaired, lift it up slightly, clip with mini side cutters, then press it into the hole. If remounting a part I use a #56 drill bit in a pin vise to make a start hole in the center of the repair, a small jewelers screwdriver can be used to make a center point by making two indentations 90° to each other. The toothpicks and Mahogany are soft enough to accept a #1 or #2 screw without making a pilot hole.
    5. All measurements were made with an Engineer's Rule when the cameras were laid out. All measurements will be in Inch, tents of an inch, hundredths of an inch, or thousands of an inch. The body covering thickness was factored into the length of shafts and bushings so if the body covering is removed the parts must be shimmed the body covering thickness from the wood body to fit and work properly.
    6. CRC Quick Dry Electronic Contact Cleaner, http://www.amazon.com/CRC-05103-Qui...418975386&sr=8-2&keywords=crc+contact+cleaner, also available at hardware/home improvement/ auto part stores, is one of if not the best degreaser/cleaner on the market. The only thing better at dissolving dried grease and crud is lacquer thinner but it will strip finishes and coatings as well.
    7. WD, which stands for water dispersant, 40 is in the same category as 3in1 oil. Some use it for cleaning then wipe off the residue and coat with a camera friendly product.
    8. Extra fine powdered graphite is very good for camera use. There may be better dry lubricants on the market but I'm not familiar with them.
    9. What is the serial number of your camera? Folmer Graflex is 1923-1946.
     
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    frobozz

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    I have NyOil which is what I would normally use for this sort of thing - is that a good choice? The 3-in-1 was all I had handy at work, where I was playing with the camera. I also have the full array of things like white lithium, graphite, etc. and my wife has even more concoctions for her bicycle maintenance and repair.

    According to one document I found, my camera would be 1926-1929 (assuming it is the original lens; they started using a different one in 1929.) Where would I find the serial number?

    Thanks,
    Duncan
     
  19. OP
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    frobozz

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    Oh, and if you service Graflex cameras, do you know where I can get replacement "hidden buttons" for the ones that have fallen out over the years and been replaced with screws?

    Thanks,
    Duncan
     
  20. OP
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    frobozz

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    OK I found the serial number on the inside top front of the camera. It's stamped reallllllly lightly except for the last digit. Looks to me to be 6519. Is that a plausible number?

    If there's a number stamped on the Cirkut back anywhere I can't find it.

    The serial numbers on the front and rear lens cells do match though!

    Duncan
     
  21. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    NyOil-never heard of it but a search resulted in a description that suggest it should be fine for cameras.

    Graflex put the serial numbers in various places on different cameras. The rear of the lens door/bed was common as was behind the view hood on the view hood door on SLR's. Speed Graphics of that era have them ink stamped on the under side of the camera top, a good flash light is needed to see them and the bellows must be fully retracted into the camera. The serial number is either embossed into the wood or ink stamped onto the wood.
    The serial number will be 6 digits, 117xxx early 1920's; 130xxx 1923; 131xxx 1923; 145xxx 1926; 148xxx-149xxx 1926; 162xxx 1928; 169xxx 1929.

    I have no clue about the release button. It may be possible to remove the center pin from a upholstery tack and use it as the buttons were round, dome shaped brass.
     
  22. OP
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    frobozz

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    Is it possible the Cirkuts were serialized differently than normal Graflex cameras? Certainly they were before Graflex got them according to an article here (third paragraph, page 4):

    https://www.graflex.org/GHQ/GHQ-14-4.pdf

    That article says there's a sub-100 number stamped elsewhere that tells who built the camera. From the looks of this picture, when I travel back in time to slap someone for assembling mine wrong, it's number 67 I'm looking for ;-)

    [​IMG]


    Here's the best picture I can get of my ever-so-lightly stamped number. There's another round-topped digit to the left of the 6519... possibly a 2. But if there's a 6th digit to the left I can see no trace of it, and besides a 3rd digit of 6 doesn't fit any of your above ranges anyway.


    [​IMG]


    Duncan
     
  23. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    Folmer and Schwing put serial numbers on their cameras from day 1 but kept no record of the serial numbers. When they were merged with Century Mr. Schwing went out and bought a single entry ledger in which he listed the job number, quantity, camera type, starting serial number, ending serial number. This continued until the Folmer and Schwing Division was put up for sale due to a court order and established as Folmer Graflex when there were no buyers. Around 1923 the date the entry was made in the book started. In 1946-1947 the recording of serial numbers changed and things got real confusing for a few years. A second serial number book was started in 1962.
    The numbers I listed in my last posts are the only ones for a #10 Circuit from 1920 to 1928. Each batch was for 50 to 100 cameras with the larger batches in the earlier 1920's.
    See: http://www.graflex.org/articles/kingslake/

    Some type of wood oil (lemon oil) or furniture polish may bring out the other numbers. The 67 may be the casting number used to ensure fitted sections of a camera were assembled with the sections they were fitted to.
    Graflex may have changed the serial number location as the Graflex History Quarterly seems to deal more with the early production versions.

    Have you tried the pencil and paper trick to read a number?
     
  24. OP
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    frobozz

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    OK, I tried Formby's Lemon Oil wood polish. No help. I tried rubbing - they're even fainter that way. It's not that I can't get in on the number with good light and a magnifying glass, it's just that they were not stamped with any force at all. So, interpreting what I see through the filter of what I know the number ranges can be, I'm going to go with 169519.

    I made a really nifty 35mm canister-to-10"-Cirkut-holder adapter and was marveling at how great it was... until I tried to close the back door! My adapter sticks up out of the cavity too much. Drat. Back to the drawing board a little bit...

    Duncan
     
  25. shutterfinger

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    After a careful scan of "the book" there are NO #10 Circuit camera serial numbers ending in 519 or 579. The numbers appear to be altered or double embossed, something that has occurred on other cameras.
    The other possibilities are the panel with the 519 was embossed by mistake or it is from an older camera used to repair this one.
    This camera's s/n may be elsewhere.
    169519 is a 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 RB Series D.
     
  26. OP
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    frobozz

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    Weird, the 519 was the part I was most sure about. The 9 is stamped quite well. Everything else is stamped lightly, basically only the upper third is visible, and even less as you go to the left of the number. But 5 and 1 are completely unique on their upper third, no mistaking those. I'll keep looking...

    Duncan
     
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